Is Elon Musk and Tesla moving out of California?

Elon Musk has told friends and close associates that he wants to move away from California and to Texas. A recent CNBC report notes that the CEO has ambitions to leave the Golden State and instead become a citizen of the Lone Star State, although the reasons for this are not completely understood. The big question is: will the headquarters of Tesla go with him, or will operations remain in California, where the automaker has been calling home since its establishment in 2003?

The CNBC article reveals that Musk’s change could have to do with his frustration with the COVID-19 limitations, which he vocally disagreed with earlier this year. Musk explained during the Q1 2020 Earnings Call hosted by Tesla in April that lockdowns were fascist and that California lawmakers should give people back “their g*ddamn freedom.” This led to the CEO gaining intense frustration with the handling of the situation that shut down Tesla’s Fremont manufacturing plant for more than a month and a half.

After the shutdown and the question of whether Tesla was ready for reopening by Alameda County Health Officials, Musk said Tesla would “move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”

Some moves were also taken by the CEO to indicate his departure from California. Musk finally sold his belongings and homes, saying that he was totally rid of things that weighed him down, and that he was entirely focused on the task of bringing people to Mars. Some wondered if Musk would eventually move his company to Texas after selling his California estate.

Musk sparred in an interview with Automotive News with the idea:

“There’s no question that our headquarters will remain in California for the short term. Long term we’ll have to wait and see.”

With Tesla now having a Gigafactory in Texas that will manufacture many vehicles for customers in the Eastern half of the country, there is no reason why the company should not develop its base in the state. Musk is now flying to Texas, and the headquarters could be relocated reasonably quickly without much difficulty. When business in California needs to be done, Musk would easily travel back to Fremont, and given that many of his executives choose Austin as their favorite place to live, he will be close to some of his business associates. In reality, because of its attractiveness to company executives, Tesla chose Austin for its new Gigafactory site.

“When talking to key members of the team that would need to move to Austin from California in order to get the factory going, Austin was their top pick to be totally frank,” Musk said. “That was a big factor in choosing Texas and Austin. Specifically Austin. I guess a lot of people from California, if you ask them what’s the one place you’d move outside of California, it’s Austin.”

It remains to be seen when Musk will make the jump. He’s certainly considering it, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to make him build a base in a state where local officials are favorable to him. In a photo op, the CEO and Texas Governor Greg Abbott together gave the “Hook em ‘Horns” sign, as the two could see a potential relationship that would benefit both sides.

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